(1) Where are you from?
Originally, I am from Twin Falls, Idaho. I grew up in Idaho and Utah.
(2) What day did you start?
April 21, 2018
(3) What day did you finish?
October 5, 2018
(4) Do you have a trail name?
Chicken of the Sea
(5) If so, where did it come from?
Initially, I was Chicken Legs because I was losing weight in my legs. But then we took a zero day and went river rafting on the Kern River and I fell into the water a couple of times so it morphed into Chicken of the Sea. Ironically, I prefer SPAM to tuna but SPAM of the Sea doesn't really have the same ring to it.
(6) What did you dream of when things weren’t going well?
Nothing really. I am more the clench you teeth and power through kind of person.
(7) Did you experience anything miraculous?
The whole experience was miraculous really. How many people get to do something like this, especially in the middle of their lives. Most Americans don't have the opportunity to do something like this, let alone people from the developing world. Just having the opportunity itself was a miracle that I am deeply grateful for.
(8) Any memorable encounters with the elements, or wildlife?
I didn't quite beat the snow. Between Stehekin and Harts Pass I ran into a snowstorm right as I was coming over the ridge. I am a solo hiker so I was alone in basically a white out on top of the ridge which was a bit concerning since my trail runners weren't exactly the best for slippery conditions. I ended up camping alone on the saddle. Luckily the snow didn't last that long and when I woke up there was only a few inches of snow. The last few days were magical with the snow covering and probably the best I had on trail.
(9) Think back to your “pre-hike self.” Now think of yourself here at the end. Has anything changed?
A little hard to say since I have been back less than a month. I would say I am much more relaxed overall. My focus has shifted, I have always been very set on achievement and career growth. Now I find myself worrying more about how I can get outside more and really live a much fuller life rather than how I can advance career wise. Definitely less stressed and more at peace with myself and my position in life. One of the things about spending months in the mountains is that you realize the enormity of life and creation; all the mundane things in life that seemed so crucial just don't feel that important any more.
(10) Now that you are off the trail, what do you miss most about it?
The release. It is such a great relief to be out in the mountains with nothing to worry about except climbing the next pass. You can get this some on a day hike but you know you will be back soon. It's not the same as being on a long hike. It's like you are dipping your foot in the water rather than fully immersing yourself in the experience. I miss that totality of experience.
(11) Before you started, what were you most afraid of?
I am pretty scared of heights so I was worried that some of the snowy parts in the Sierras would get the better of me.
(12) Now that you are finished, what are you most afraid of?
It is hard to be scared of much after you do something like finish the PCT. I mean if you can do that what can't you do? I mean I guess I am scared I could get hit by an asteroid. Definitely not scared of black bears those timid little things. I guess I am afraid I won't be able to do something like that again. I am almost 40 who knows how much longer my body will hold up or when I will get another 6 month break from real life. I don't see myself as being one of those guys who does this when I am 60 so it's a little scary to think that might have been it. Still scared of heights.
(13) What’s the difference between life on the trail and life off the trail?
Ha. EVERYTHING! Off trail I have so much time where I am not doing anything and it is driving me insane. On trail I was pretty slow so I was basically walking, eating or sleeping the whole time. Now I have hours with nothing to do. It's insane how much time people waste doing nothing.
(14) Would you like to add anything else?
If you are one of those people on the fence thinking about doing the trail, you need to make it happen. I have done a lot of things in my life but the PCT was probably the most rewarding experience of my life.